Why Won’t They Talk To Me?!

Chances are you have tried to talk to your teen about something and were met with a blank stare and a door slam. What is with this phenomenon? Is there something about teens that make them so adverse to telling us how their day went, who their friends are, and who this week’s crush is? Not exactly. They want to tell you what happened in Biology, who Rob is asking to prom, and who they hope will ask them. If you feel like you have asked those questions until you were blue in the face and are met with that deer in the headlights look that teens are so known for-then maybe you are not asking the right way. How would you feel if you walked in to work and your boss asked you about an important project you had been working on, and as soon as you began to talk he began reading his email and mumbled “mmhmm” occasionally. You would feel pretty upset wouldn’t you? Well, your teen may be feeling the same way. If you say “How was school today?” and in the same breath begin cooking dinner, reading the mail, and wiping down the counters-you are no better than that boss. Your teen wants you to mean it when you ask them about their lives,and that means stopping everything and listening. Good listening can be hard when you have got half a million things to do and 20 minutes to do them. But, if you are truly invested in having a relationship with your teen, you have to give them your undivided attention when they want to share something with you. Try taking ten minutes a day and giving it to them to talk about their lives. Go some place quiet, leave the cell phones on the counter, and truly listen. Ask questions, nod your head, make eye contact. These little things let your teen know that you care about what they have to say and they will be much more likely to venture information, problems, and issues when they come up on their own. Soon enough, you won’t need to set aside time, it will come naturally to stop whatever is going on and listen.

To sum it all up:

Your teen wants to tell you about their lives.

They may feel like you are not listening or don’t care because of your actions.

Setting aside time to listen everyday can open up communication.

Make eye contact, ask questions, nod your head. This lets them know that you are really listening.

~Kate McHugh, Driven Intern


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